Brandeis Study Abroad Account

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Obtaining Brandeis Credit

As you are researching and applying to programs and universities abroad, please observe the following guidelines in order to receive Brandeis University credit for work successfully completed abroad:

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Normal, Full Course Load
You must carry a normal, full course load while abroad; the flexible rate of work option does NOT apply to study abroad. Only documented medical illness or severe personal hardship warrant a petition for a reduced rate of work. The fact that a course turns out to be too advanced or not as interesting as you had hoped is not sufficient. Taking a "W" is not permitted. Please speak with the Office of Study Abroad staff if you have any questions.

A normal, full load of work abroad is defined individually by each program or university together with the Brandeis Office of Study Abroad. A four-course rate abroad may not be equivalent to a full load (four courses) at Brandeis. In some programs you must take five courses, in others three. At Brandeis, the normal course load is 4 courses per semester. The minimum is 3 and the maximum is 5.5, but the "normal" is 4.

15 U.S. credits is the minimum course load for all Brandeis study abroad students. 12 U.S. credits is not considered a full load. If, for example, the program literature states that the range is between 14-18 credits, the "normal" load would be 16. If you are not sure what constitutes a normal, full course load at your program or university, check with the Resident Director or International Student Office and then confirm these details with the Brandeis Office of Study Abroad. Be sure to do this before the end of your add-drop period so that you can make any necessary changes to your schedule. Being a full-time student on an overseas program is not necessarily the same as taking a full course load.

In most cases 1-credit courses are not appropriate for transfer credit and will not count as part of a normal full load abroad. There are certain exceptions to this rule, please reach out to the Office of Study Abroad with any questions. (Exception: Sarah Lawrence/ BADA)

If students take the normal course load overseas and earn a C- or better in each class, they will receive credit for the equivalent of the normal load at Brandeis: 16 credit hours for the semester and 32 credit hours for the year. Failure to attempt a full course load abroad may result in a loss of all potential credit for the semester/year.

We do not transfer credit earned abroad on a course-for-course basis. Additional Brandeis credit can be earned only if the student takes a substantial overload, as defined by COAS. Credit for an overload will only be given if a student enrolls in 150% of the normal full-time load. If you have any questions, please consult a member of the Study Abroad staff.
Course Information

Appropriate Courses for Brandeis Credit
Brandeis will give credit for liberal arts classes only. You will not receive credit for non-liberal arts courses, which may include topics such as ceramics, engineering, drafting, jewelry-making and certain types of accounting courses.

Please refer to the guidelines below for specific rules on certain classes. If you have questions about the appropriateness of a course, please contact a study abroad staff member.

Auditing Courses
No credit will be given for audited courses. You will only receive credit for those courses for which you receive a grade on your transcript or tutor's report.

Foreign Language Requirements Abroad
You must take at least one course each semester in the language of the country in which you are studying. This course may be either an academic subject course taught in the language of the country, or an appropriate language/grammar course. Failure to complete a language course during each semester you are abroad will result in loss of all credit for the semester.

Geography and Geology
Geography and Geology courses are appropriate for Brandeis credit even though they are not taught at Brandeis University. You may submit a Petition to Request Substitution for a Requirement form if you wish to have the course assessed to fulfill the Science general university requirement.

Photography Classes
Questions about photography classes should be addressed to the Office of Study Abroad. Photography courses that have no creative or historic component are not appropriate for Brandeis course credit. An appropriate photography course will not rely solely on use of a smartphone for the course. Only a few photography courses are eligible to fulfill the School of Creative Arts requirement.

Physical Education
You may receive credit for PE while abroad if the course is at least 22 contact hours. Please contact Lynne Dempsey (dempsey@brandeis.edu), Director of Athletics, with a detailed course description if you have further questions. Please note that club team participation, or attending a yoga studio on your own, will not count for PE credit.

Repeat Classes
When selecting classes abroad, be careful not to repeat a class that you have already taken at Brandeis. You will not receive credit for a class you take twice. If you have any questions, please consult a member of the Study Abroad staff.

Using Study Abroad Coursework for Major or Minor Credit

If you wish to receive credit towards your major or minor for courses taken abroad, you should contact the appropriate department or program directly. Click here to obtain a list of Study Abroad Faculty Liaisons in each department and review policy information on how courses from abroad count towards your major/minor. The Office of Study Abroad can only transfer general course credit, not major or minor credit. Study Abroad Liaisons make final decisions about major/minor credit once students return from abroad.

To request major/minor credit upon returning from abroad, you should complete a Petition to Request Substitution for a Requirement form. After filling out the form and gathering the necessary paperwork, you may want to make an appointment to meet with the Liaison in each department where you are seeking credit. Since this form requires you to submit a syllabus from the course you are petitioning, be sure to save your syllabi and course descriptions. (However, Politics students should instead complete a paper TC03 form.)

Some appropriate questions to discuss with your major/ minor advisor and the Study Abroad Liaison:

  • What major/ minor requirements do I still need to complete?
  • Will study abroad courses be accepted to fulfill degree requirements in this department/ program?
  • I have course descriptions for courses I am considering taking while abroad that I obtained from my study abroad program. Can you review these with me and see if these courses meet any of my major/ minor requirements? (It may also be a good idea to get this pre- approval in writing. You can email your advisor and ask him/ her to confirm what you discussed, for example.)
  • If I arrive in my host country and discover that I cannot take these classes, may I email you for guidance in making alternate choices?
  • What do I need to do when I return to follow up with you? What should I bring back with me? (course syllabi, coursework, etc…)
  • Am I on-track with my graduation requirements?

If you would like to obtain major or minor credit for a field study project, internship, or independent study project, you will also need to work with the Study Abroad Liaison within the academic department. It is highly recommended that you talk with the Liaison before and during those independent projects.

Using Study Abroad Coursework for General Education Requirements

It is possible to receive credit for General Education Requirements with coursework completed abroad. More information about these graduation requirements can be found in the Brandeis Bulletin.

If you wish to use a course abroad to fulfill a general university requirement (Writing Intensive, Quantitative Reasoning, Foreign Language, Non-Western, or School Distribution), you will need to complete the Petition to Request Substitution for a Requirement form available on the Office of the Registrar’s website: http://www.brandeis.edu/registrar/forms/transfer-credit.html.

You may do this before you leave, while you are abroad or after you return. Please note that we strongly encourage you to make these types of requests before the end of your add/drop period for your program as we can not guarantee credit to fulfill such requirements after you return.

Obtaining Brandeis Credit for an Off-Campus Internship, Practicum, Independent or Field Study Project
Internships, independent study courses, practicums, and fieldwork experience must have approval from the Office of Study Abroad in order to be accepted for credit. Not all internships offered by programs on the approved list meet the Brandeis criteria. Therefore, it is very important to discuss your proposed internship course with a member of the study abroad staff.

If you wish to have an internship or independent study course accepted for credit, there must be an academic component to the course and you are required to be on-site for at least 100 hours. To ensure an experiential learning experience is appropriate for credit, you should send a short email to the Office of Study Abroad (abroad@brandeis.edu) describing the course. and include a syllabus if available.

If you wish to receive major/minor credit for an independent study, internship, practicum or field research project while abroad, you must contact the Study Abroad Faculty Liaison in the appropriate department for their guidelines. It is wise to request guidance from the Study Abroad Faculty Liaison in advance since not all internships may be approved by a particular department. Please see the major/minor credit section for more information.

Students who complete an independent study, internship, practicum or field research project while abroad will be required to submit a short summary of their work via and online survey when they return to campus.

If you have any questions about taking an independent study or internship for credit while you are off-campus, please contact a member of the study abroad staff.